Tennessee Charter School Law Eliminates Profit Motive

For-profit entities are not allowed to operate or manage charter schools in Tennessee. According to the Tennessee Department of Education:

Though a few states allow for-profit entities to operate public charter schools, and many states allow non-profit charter school governing bodies to contract with for-profit entities to operate or manage charter schools, Tennessee law prohibits either of those arrangements. Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-13-104(7) defines the sponsor: as “any individual, group, or other organization filing an application in support of the establishment of a public charter school . . .” That section notes that “a sponsor cannot be a for-profit entity.” The law requires the governing body, which operates the charter school to be “a not-for-profit organization” with 501(c)(3) exemption. The law in that same section (§ 49-13-106)(b)(1)(B)) says “no charter shall be granted to a for-profit corporation.” Tennessee law does allow a charter school governing body to “contract for services,” but it specifically limits that authority: “except for the management or operation of the charter school by a for-profit entity.” So, a charter school could contract with a for-profit entity for limited services, but cannot give up the actual management or operation of the school to that entity.

Speaker Gunn's proposed income tax elimination jeopardizes teacher pay raises and school funding far into the future.

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